STEVE ORCHARD: Pilgrimage (2014)
“If you want smooth relaxing music this new album from Steve Orchard will suit your expectations”
1 Leaving the City Behind 5:45 2 Covered Wagons 5:01 3 Cat's Eyes 5:24 4 Just Sitting in a Field 4:50 5 On the Road 6:01 6 Open Spaces 2:18 7 Toll House 5:23 8 Cast a Long Shadow 5:21 9 Traveller's Rest 3:22 10 Changing Horizon 4:59 11 April Sunshine 5:26 12 Spiritual Destination 6:20 AD137 CD-r
(CD-r/DDL 60:16) (V.F.)
(Soft e-rock, New Age)
A flute to the perfumes of jazz lost in the noises of a city whistles an evocative air which floats over the jerky echoes of a keyboard's chords. The introduction of Leaving the City Behind sticks then to the muffler noise of a motorcycle of which the start is guiding the track towards a soft and very melodious mid-tempo. The piano lets go some fragile harmonies which dance cheerfully in the breezes of the violins, always preserving so this romantic approach tinted of melancholy which characterizes the music of Steve Orchard. With PILGRIMAGE, he follows this tangent of the English label for a music of which the essences of the New Age cradle themselves over some rhythms a little more lively.
The bard of the ADMusic label trades his acoustic clothes in order to electrify his romantic ambiences with more sustained rhythms. Giving so an album where a mix of down and mid tempos are still flirting with New Age. We are still far from the lands of the electronica, still very far from those of an EM of the Berlin or England School kinds, except that the music offered on PILGRIMAGE answers the needs to those who like a more Easy Listening genre. It's not made for me, but my sweet Lise likes it a lot. That's the perfect balance in a couple. So, this album is a lot rhythmic than the previous offerings from Steve Orchard. The guitar leaves more space to the piano and keyboards. And the percussions shake a little more the romantic moods of Orchard. And all in all, that remains some nice music which furnishes the thread of the screens of our life. We feel a delicious tendency of jazz and blues on tracks like Covered Wagons, the pleasant Cat's Eyes whom Lise has really fall for, and Cast a Long Shadow. In order to avoid of mislaid too much his fans, Steve Orchard also offers these delicious guitar ballads which cut out our buried feelings. Romance tracks which would fill the end credits movies of watery tears, like the very beautiful Just Sitting in a Field where violins transport the tears of the piano and the very elegiac April Sunshine. For the rest, Steve Orchard offers a lively and not too much complicated e-music. On the Road is a good balance between a mid-tempo and a down-tempo with yet nice orchestrations and a rich musical envelope perfumed of sweet harmonies a bit cosmic. It's a more electric track where the six-strings of Orchard discharges the piano of its harmonious responsibilities. The same goes for Open Spaces and Traveller's Rest, although the violins are more present here, where the guitar expires mainly alone its harmonies of solitary bard. Steve Orchard plays a little more in the cinematographic music scents with a massive use of violins and orchestral arrangements of which the main purpose is to be melt the last bastions of resistance of any soul. I think among others to the oriental fragrances of Toll House, where we can perceive David Wright's influences, and the very ambient, floating and wrapping Changing Horizon which moves slowly with a dreamy morphic tempo. A beautiful ballad which has also pleased to my Lise. Spiritual Destination concludes this album, which in the end is situated closer to New Age or even soft e-rock than electronica, with a more folk root approach. We hear there, through good orchestrations which cradle as much the rhythms as the ambiences, airs that haunt, and that awaken souvenirs of an already heard music. If you want smooth relaxing music, even if lively here and there, this new album from Steve Orchard will suit your expectations.
Sylvain Lupari (November 20th, 2014) ***½**
Available at AD Music